Team Canada has revealed the shortlist for their Overwatch World Cup 2019 Community Lead, and one of them is a Root Bear.
Well technically, he’s a human named Richard Ng, and Root Bear is just what most people call him. He got his nickname thanks to his love for A&W and their famous mascot. As a kid, he would watch the commercials with excitement. As a teen, he would choose jobs based on their proximity to A&W locations, and he currently has quite the A&W plush toy collection. Yet that passion for A&W is one that is only matched by one other thing — his affinity for Overwatch.
Back in 2018, he founded the 5 Deadly Venoms Crew, a supporters group for the Overwatch League’s NYXL, that holds viewing parties and events for Overwatch League fans living in New York. At the time, this was groundbreaking as the league was still in its infancy, and didn’t have much of a fan presence outside of Los Angeles. Since then many other supporters clubs have popped up all over the league, but it was Richard who started the wave. He says that making it this far feels like recognition for all the hard work that he’s put in.
“It’s an incredible honour to be on the shortlist for the Team Canada Community Lead. For me personally, it’s a sign that the work I’ve done for Overwatch community builds in New York and Toronto have really meant something to the community. Being able to impact anyone’s life for the better is humbling and if making the shortlist is indicative of making that happen, I’m a very lucky and happy person,” said Ng
Richard is running for Team Canada’s Community Lead, a position which includes planning events, and connecting with fans of Canada’s National Overwatch team. Since moving back to Canada late last year, Richard helped found Toronto Alpha Flight, a supporters club for the Overwatch League’s Toronto franchise. On top of watch parties and meet-ups, he has created a range of apparel for Toronto Alpha Flight that celebrates the city of Toronto. As for his vision for Canada’s Overwatch team, it goes far beyond the actual games being played.
“For me, this role is about being able to help lay the framework for a better way for us to support esports in Canada starting with our National Overwatch team. I think community needs combine real world and digital so expect to see a healthy blend of online and IRL events. Real communities cannot exist only online. We have low switching costs in those situations. I think a stronger Canadian community can come from showing the importance of reaching out and connecting across the board. My goal will be to make this core to how Team Canada Community leadership operates.”
Finally, Richard says that the main reason he’d make a good community lead is that he’s usually the biggest fan in the room.
“There’s a reason I’m in gifs, NYXL videos, Defiant videos. I can drop a mean wrestling-style promo on camera. It’s critical that this role goes to someone who’s not just good in front of a controlled audience but also just good with people, period. I suppose the biggest thing though is that because I started my OW journey in New York, I feel like I haven’t been able to give enough back to my home country. In a weird way, this isn’t about OW or esports to me. This is about having the opportunity to represent Canada and help others tell the stories of our nation through the context of esports. That to me is the biggest mission.”
You can vote for Richard or any of the various country’s candidates at this link. Voting runs from now until June 7th and players can only vote for candidates from the country in which they are from. The World Cup playoffs will take place at BlizzCon 2019 which runs from November 1st to November 3rd.